2017 has been one of the best years for video games ever, housing a steady stream of high quality new releases since January and the launch of multiple consoles: From the console/hybrid Switch, the 4K capable Xbox One X and the SNES Classic Edition that finally brought Star Fox 2 to market after its unceremonious cancellation over two decades ago. For fans of comic book themed video games though, 2017 has unequivocably been the best year ever. Since starting this site in 2012, I’ve had the pleasure of covering at best a few new releases a year while covering retro titles, but in 2017 there’s been more new releases in the comic book game genre than ever before and in those new releases, there has been something for just about everyone’s taste.
FOR THE RETRO GAMER
People don’t associate DuckTales with comics, but the adventures of billionaire duck Uncle Scrooge got their start in comics long before the cartoon in which he starred in came along and hooked us all with its ear worm of a theme song. Some probably didn’t even realize that DuckTales was an animated show, instead becoming aware of the property from Capcom’s beloved NES game. In 2017 DuckTales got a second chance at life as part of the wonderful Disney Afternoon Collection, a compilation of six classic Disney themed NES games put together by Digital Eclipse, the studio behind the terrific Mega Man Legacy Collection. Not only could players have an easier way to play DuckTales in the Disney Afternoon Collection, but also its late NES sequel, DuckTales 2, which has become a pricey cart to track down on sites like eBay due to is rarity.
A TELLTALE GAME FOR EVERYONE
Whether you’re a fan of DC, Marvel, or like things more created owned, there was a Telltale game for you in 2017. The year started off with the remainder of The Walking Dead: A New Frontier that got a late 2016, two episode season premiere and then right before the theatrical release of Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol.2, Telltale kicked off its first ever Marvel themed series based on the band of space-travelling outlaws in Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series. Before Guardians of the Galaxy even started its third episode, Telltale stated up a second season of their Batman saga, Batman: The Enemy Within, which continues to impress and surprise with how well the developer subverts what we’ve come to expect from a Batman story.
GOOD FIGHTERS, ON BOTH SIDES
May saw the release of the highly anticipated fighting game sequel, Injustice 2, which raised the bar for future games in the genre with its plethora of online and offline content as well as its incredible story mode. Post launch the game has had several fighters added via downloadable content with Dark Horse’s Hellboy set to come before the end of the year. Announced this week was a PC port of Injustice 2 which should also arrive before the year concludes. If DC is not your thing, Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite brought back the cross-over/tag-team series that had been dormant since 2011 and while it didn’t have the fanfare that Injustice 2 did, it’s a welcome addition to the series that caters to veterans and new comers alike. After seeing a digital rerelease on PS4 in late 2016, Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 launched on Xbox One in March where it could be bought both physically at retail or digitally. PS4 owners also got the opportunity to pick up a physical copy of UMVC3 as well on the same day it arrived for Xbox One.
ALL AGES ARE WELCOME
2017 will sadly go down as the year that Lego Dimensions ended, but it was book ended by some great DC Comics themed content. A Story Pack based on the The Lego Batman Movie landed in February that brought both Batgirl and Robin to the toys-to-life game along with a new Excalibur Batman Fun Pack. Closing out the final wave of Lego Dimensions sets were two Teen Titans GO! packs: A Fun Pack starring Starfire and a Team Pack housing Raven and Beast Boy. Buying either gained access to an Adventure World in Dimensions inspired by the hit animated series. TT Games is set to put out their third Marvel themed game next month with the highly anticipated sequel, Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2, that will star various iterations of Marvel heroes and villains from across time and space.
RPG’S OF THE ACTION AND TURN BASED VARIETY
Gazillion pleasantly surprised console exclusive players with the April announcement that Marvel Heroes Omega, a console version of the formerly PC exclusive free-to-play MMO, was coming to both PS4 and Xbox One. Finally Marvel Heroes’ brand of action-RPG heavy gameplay that many saw as the successor to the Marvel Ultimate Alliance series could be enjoyed by those who prefer to play on a set top box with a controller in hand. For those who like their RPG’s more akin to what was on consoles like the SNES or the original PlayStation, the Kickstarter backed Battle Chasers: Nightwar came out in October and did for Final Fantasy what Vigil games did with Darksiders for The Legend of Zelda: bring a North American touch to a genre mostly associated with eastern development teams.
FOR SHOOTER FANS
Alongside games like DuckTales and its sequel as well as Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 which got a current generation second chance was Rogue Trooper Redux, a remaster of the 2006 PS2/Xbox era shooter, Rogue Trooper. Though its mechanics are far from modern, Rogue Trooper Redux is still a great shooter with some unique ideas that make it stand out in a very crowded genre, and at a budget price no less. Rogue Trooper Redux also holds the honor of being the first comic book game ever released on the Nintendo Switch.
2017 has been with no question a stellar year for comic book inspired video games. With Marvel’s Spider-Man from Insomniac on the PS4, new seasons of The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us from Telltale coming and more news about Square-Enix’s Avengers project, there’s no indication that that momentum will be slowing down anytime soon. It’s never been a better team to be a comic book video game enthusiast.